Sites can make or break a game. Many people have sites that they vow they will never return to (consall and it’s hills, Bispham Hall in Wigan or Tournament Stud for mud for example).
Most of the sites we use are scout sites, and they all look a little bit disappointing.
There are other sites. Huntley Wood is a dedicated LRP site. The Grange in Balsall Common is an airsoft site. Hostels have been used, as have private houses, public access land, and other sites that people have found through various contacts. Next month I’m attending an event at a site in wigan. It’s in the town centre, and there are businesses operating out of the building we’ll be hunting for ghosts in.
As an organiser I’m looking for a memorable location that fits the plot, and ideally that we don’t need to dress to the nines. We’re prepared to dress the building if we have to, but we struggle to make the outside look right, and it adds an extra day onto our hire costs.
The best site we’ve used is Drakelow Tunnels. These are 2nd World War tunnels that have also been used as a cold war base through the 1970s-1990s.
Booking sites in the midlands that are affordable has got a lot harder recently. Next year I’m running the first event where we haven’t had bunks for the players. They’re going to camp. Normally bunks is a requirement as we want the players ic 24 hours in a sci fi world and we’ve yet to perfect our modular building design to make that work. We want to control what a player experiences at our games and that means not letting them slope off to a space that is ‘theirs’.
Generally we aim to spend £800-1000. Usually we end up spending £1000-1250 We like our sites to be within about an hour of coventry.
I have a list of places we try. If we’ve got a game in mind we’ll be looking for a site that matches that. We’re camping this time because the site is right for the game.
John Lees Wood fits our requirements but will only allow LRPers to use the site one weekend a month over the off season.
Ullesthorpe would get used more but it’s limited to three events a year.
Consall gets used a lot because it’s more open, but a lot of players don’t like it.
Drakelow tunnels is slowly being turned into a museum, and while it offers beautiful settings for certain events at the moment it may end up being too much of a compromise.
More worrying are the sites that won’t allow LRPers at all. The quarries near Milton Keynes and Rough Close near Coventry both fall into this category. Some of them have decided that LRPers were getting in the way of scouts using it, which is fair enough. Although Coventry scouts expressed an interest in having LRPers return, only to reject that when we tried to get a price from them.
When we found drakelow, it was the perfect site. Now we’ve run there we need something different again. It’s a constant search.
We would like to hire an office block. It’s another enclosed environment that has power, lights, toilets and water. It could offer us something new to run in. A move away from the fields and scout hut aesthetic that we tend to revert to. Dedicated LRP sites allow resource buildings, but are currently fantasy based.
Someone find me a space ship.